The Maryland women’s basketball team isn’t ceding its throne so easily.
The No. 14 Terps took an impressive step to defending their three-year run of league supremacy, routing Big Ten Conference preseason favorite Ohio State, 99-69, on Monday night at Xfinity Center. Sophomore wing Kaila Charles had a career-high 32 points and helped limit Buckeyes All-America guard Kelsey Mitchell to 15 points.
It was Maryland’s first win against No. 12 Ohio State since March 8, 2015. The stretch of three straight defeats marked the Terps’ only conference losses since joining the Big Ten in 2015 until a Jan. 11 loss to Michigan State.
With Maryland’s loss of All-Americans Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and top freshman Destiny Slocum this offseason, and Mitchell returning for her senior season with a core of solid veterans, the Buckeyes (16-4, 5-2) were picked to end the Terps’ reign atop the Big Ten. Maryland shared the regular-season title last year with Ohio State, but the program has nonetheless claimed every regular-season and tournament title in its three seasons of league membership.
On Monday, the Terps (17-3, 6-1) showed why it will be hard to wrest control away, both now and for years to come. Junior wing Eleanna Christinaki had 26 points on 6-for-11 outside shooting. Sophomore forward Stephanie Jones (Aberdeen) and junior forward Brianna Fraser combined for 26 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman point guard Channise Lewis had a game-high 10 assists and one turnover.
Overall, the Terps shot 54.9 percent from the field, including 61.1 percent from 3-point range. Ohio State was held to 39.2 percent shooting and was outrebounded 47-32.